Earlier this year, CAL collaborated with Republic Polytechnic for its students’ final year project. CAL is happy to come onboard because this is one of the avenues for us to outreach and share about mental illness and caregiving to the youths.
The two teams of students attached to CAL worked on videos on caregiving as follow:
· Dear Mum by Lure Production
‘Dear Mum’, follows Eve, an untrained and unready daughter who tries to look after her mother who is newly diagnosed with dementia. With the help of CAL, she equips herself with knowledge and tries her best to look after her mum. In her haste to look after her mum, she slips through the cracks when she forgets to take care of herself above all else. Fortunately, CAL and her fellow caregivers are there to support her during her dark moments.
· Calling by KAZE
Jay acknowledges that it is not easy caring for his brother who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As much as he cares for his brother, Jay is untrained and unequipped to manage when his brother experiences his manic or depressive episode. Upon discovering CAL, he attends the caregiver training programme to better support his brother.
· Dear Son by KAZE
During his childhood, Sean was a rather forgetful child. His mother came up with a to-do list to aid him in remembering his outstanding tasks or activities. However, it is the role reversal for him since the confirmed diagnosis of his mother with dementia. The to-do list becomes an important tool for both Sean and his mother to have some semblance of normalcy. Through attending the caregiver training programme, Sean learns that he needs to engage his mother in activities such as chess which they have always enjoyed since Sean was young.
· Burden by KAZE
James is confused and helpless when it comes to his brother. He is practically walking on eggshells after his brother repeatedly refuses his offer of help; his brother is adamant that no one can help and understand what he is going through. Fortunately, help appears after James bumps into a CAL staff during an outreach activity.
Despite having almost nil knowledge of mental illnesses including dementia, both teams were able to portray accurately the challenges and struggles faced by caregivers in their caregiving journey, and the range of services and support that CAL offers to caregivers of persons with mental health issues. Through this collaboration, we hope the students will start a conversation among their peers the importance of mental wellness.
According to Muneerah, the team leader from Lure Production, it was an awakening experience to work with CAL, especially since she was recently diagnosed with serious clinical depression. She better understood the role of caregivers and their worries and struggles for their loved ones. In one of the caregivers sharing sessions, she identified with the caregiver who shared that her loved one do not like to be told that he needs to rely on medicine to function. Initially, Muneerah was ashamed to eat her medicine but subsequently understood that her illness does not represent who she is as an individual after the sharing session.
Meanwhile, Team KAZE undergone an entire paradigm shift with regards to mental wellness and caregiving of those with mental illness. The documentation and portrayal of these issues has struck close to their hearts and acknowledged that they are changed forever. Now, they seek to inspire a similar empathy to those who are not as fortunate to have been educated about mental illness.